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Heinrich Accepts Stewart Udall Award from Conservation Lands Foundation

Recognized alongside conservationist Ed Norton for record of leading successful community-driven conservation efforts

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) honored U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) with the Stewart Udall Conservation Award in recognition of his longtime leadership and successful record of achieving community-driven conservation victories in New Mexico. In addition to Senator Heinrich, CLF also recognized Ed Norton, the organization’s Founding Board Chairman and longtime conservation leader.

PHOTOS: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and conservationist Ed Norton honored with the Stewart Udall Award from the Conservation Lands Foundation, April 26, 2023.

“This award really affirms not just my own work, but all the work New Mexicans have put in to protect lands like the Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks,” said Heinrich. “It is also special to receive this award alongside conservation champion Ed Norton. Over the last two decades, the Conservation Lands Foundation has built an incredibly successful model of growing support for conservation from the ground up with local community partners. In New Mexico, we have seen time and again how these community-driven conservation efforts have successfully protected the lands and waters that people value and cherish.”

The Conservation Lands Foundation created the Stewart Udall Award to recognize individuals who have modeled outstanding leadership in protection, defending, promoting and expanding the National Conservation Lands. The award is presented to individuals who have shown exemplary commitment, courage and perseverance in their work on behalf of National Conservation Lands. The Conservation Lands Foundation first presented to Stewart Udall in 2009 to recognize his visionary leadership and stewardship of America’s public lands during his time as Secretary of the Interior.

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Heinrich championed the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments and passed legislation to establish to establish White Sands National Park and the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah and Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Areas.

Senator Heinrich helped secure the resources and support for new land acquisitions that opened up new public access to the Sabinoso Wilderness and the addition of the historic L Bar Ranch property to western New Mexico’s Marquez Wildlife Area—the single greatest addition to protected public land in New Mexico in a generation.

He also played a leading role in securing strong, bipartisan support for the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in 2019 and the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020, two of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation to be signed into law in decades. The Dingell Act established the most protected wilderness in New Mexico in nearly 40 years.

Before he was elected to Congress, Senator Heinrich led the successful community campaign in the mid-2000’s to establish the Ojito Wilderness—on Bureau of Land Management lands about an hour northwest of Albuquerque. The Ojito became the first new protected wilderness area in New Mexico in decades and laid the foundation for future successful community-driven campaigns to protect and designate National Conservation Lands throughout New Mexico.

The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) is a non-profit organization focused on protecting, restoring, and expanding the 35 million acres that make up the National Conservation Lands system through education, advocacy, and partnerships. The National Conservation Lands are comprised of the nation’s most essential and spectacular natural, cultural, and archaeological landscapes, such as the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River, and Ojito Wilderness in New Mexico. The National Conservation Lands are managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.